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Thread: The dreaded "salary requirements" question

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    The dreaded "salary requirements" question

    I hate being asked for my salary requirements when applying for a job. It seems like such a head game to me. I feel like if I go low, then I won't get offered what I want, but if I go high they will take me out of the running because they can't match what I want. So far the best solution I've found is to research salaries for similar positions and give that as my answer, but that's not always an option. Is there any way to answer this question well?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by allez View post
    So far the best solution I've found is to research salaries for similar positions and give that as my answer, but that's not always an option. Is there any way to answer this question well?
    You can leave it blank or put in “I currently make $X but am flexible on my compensation requirements, depending on the position and the opportunity for career growth” or "Willing to discuss upon offer of employment".

    The problem with doing research is that we have clearly seen on Cyburbia that pay changes drastically based on a few factors. We've all seen the job postings demanding AICP certification with low salaries while some jobs may pay a lot more for similar work. Small towns in Wyoming probably pay much better than small towns in Alabama because of the economy there. When I research jobs (at least in the public sector) I always look to see what their pay scale is. Usually they'll have this listed on their website.
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    "My salary requirements are flexible and depend on the total compensation package."

    I use this to avoid answering the question and if called out then just explain you need to learn more about insurance and retirement programs.
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

  4. #4
    Cyburbian WhenIGrowUp's avatar
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    Public sector jobs often have the budget for the jurisdiction posted on their website. Find out what they budgeted for the position in the past (or have budgeted for the future) and go from there.

    Sorry I can't help w/ private sector advice, I don't know how they choose what they pay people.
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  5. #5
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    If they don't want to tell you what they are willing to pay, you don't have to tell them what you are willing to take.

    "I would be happy to discuss salary once an offer is made".
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  6. #6
    In many cases they want to know if they are able to make you an offer you'd be happy with. If you made 60k your last job, but they can only pay 45k, they might be afraid that you will just try to move on to a better paying job when you can, instead of being happy around 45k. There's no benefit to them in getting someone who used to be paid 15-20k more per year than they can afford.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    In many cases they want to know if they are able to make you an offer you'd be happy with. If you made 60k your last job, but they can only pay 45k, they might be afraid that you will just try to move on to a better paying job when you can, instead of being happy around 45k. There's no benefit to them in getting someone who used to be paid 15-20k more per year than they can afford.
    True, but by the same token you don't want to price yourself out of a job (assuming you are willing to accept a lower pay rate).

    I agree with the advice of others... I handle it usually by saying something along the lines of, "this is what I made at my last job, but salary is negotiable."

  8. #8
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    With the job I just started I was asked what my range was. Knowing what the position more or less paid I gave a range a little below to a little over it. I was pleasantly surprised when my new boss told me that even in this crap economy not to sell myself short and offered me more than the high end and my insurance coverage started from day one.
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  9. #9
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    I would just give a really large range and if asked tell them you would need more information to narrow it down any further.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink_Planner View post
    "I would be happy to discuss salary once an offer is made".
    This is the most important statement made in an interview.

  11. #11
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    Negotiable (if you need a one-word) - another way of saying 'Depends on the overall compensation package." (In the private sector this can vary alot - to include or not: fully paid medical, amounts of vacation/sick, # hours you are expected to work/week and expected travel (these can be very different depending on firm, and you should be compensated for them), etc.

    The other answer - Would be happy to discuss once an offer is made - is also good.

  12. #12
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    Ive also read from many "job hunting" advice books, that the first person to name a number is usually the one who ends up losing. It seems to me that giving a range is the best policy; although I would always take cost-of-living for the area into account...

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    Two places where I was being interviewed asked the question before the second interview.

    One place said outright - we can only offer a certain amount so we want to know what you are expecting before we consider you further. They danced around what that magic number was when I asked them what theri budgeted figure was. Finally I gave them a number and was told they would not be able to meet that and thank you very much for applying.

    At the other place I answered that the range advertised was acceptable and we can discuss a final number once offered the position.
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  14. #14
    Cyburbian chupacabra's avatar
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    I always say "if you have to ask you can't afford me" and then out loud I say "my salary requirements depend on the entire compensation package."
    You can grow ideas in the garden of your mind.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    Check our the APA salary survey. It may give an idea what the industry standard is for the position.

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